The elimination of altars and communion rails is the obliteration of sacred art. The obliteration of sacred art is the flattening of liturgical language. The flattening of liturgical language is the abandonment of ageless chants and hymns. The abandonment of those chants and hymns is the forgetting of immemorial devotions and prayers. The forgetting of those prayers is the secularization of time. The secularization of time is the laicization of clergy and religious. Their laicization is the rage to deny the mysteriousness of the faith. The denial of that mystery implies the building of churches as neutral spaces.—Anthony Esolen.
1. The lex orandi is the enactment of the sacred liturgy; it is composed not only of texts, but also of the whole complexus of sacred signs, gestures, and rites by which, through the mediating priesthood of Jesus Christ, men are sanctified and God is glorified. The sacred liturgy itself (being the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the other sacraments, the Divine Office, and the various rites and sacramentals found in the Church’s official liturgical books) is the Church’s theologia prima. It is in the sacred liturgy and through it that the Church receives her primary theology. The primary theology of the Church is a gift received from above, according to the word of Saint James: “Do not err, therefore, my dearest brethren. Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration” (James 1:16–17). The Church’s primary theology is not something invented by learned men; it is found in the givenness of the liturgy, the primary organ of the Church’s authentic tradition.2. The lex credendi is the articulation of what is already given, contemplated, and celebrated in the lex orandi. The Church’s doctrine emerges in all its shining purity — in the veritatis splendor — from the wellspring of her liturgy. Catholic doctrine, the Church’s theologia secunda, is the fruit of her liturgical experience. The sanctuary precedes theaula of theological discourse; the altar confers authority upon the academic chair. A theological discourse at variance with the lex orandi will be flawed and lifeless. I am sure that His Eminence, Cardinal Burke, would agree that when he speaks of the doctrine of the Church, he is referring to the authoritative teaching that is grounded in, and shaped by, the liturgy of the Church, her lex orandi.3. The lex vivendi is the Catholic moral life, a life quickened by the theological virtues, a life in obedience to the divine commandments, characterized by the cardinal virtues, illumined by the Beatitudes, enriched by the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and displayed in the Holy Spirit’s Twelve Fruits. The lex vivendi pertains to all that teaches men to live rightly, to every ethical and social question, and to the pursuit of that holiness that already we contemplate in the saints set before us by the Church.
(A)nother reason to make sure we have some Latin (and Greek and Hebrew) in the Mass: If we say/chant the Kyrie, if we say/sing Alleluia, and if we say/chant Agnus Dei, we will in the Mass connect to the titulus, the sign Pilate posted on the Cross, “The King of the Jews” written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin so that all would understand it.—bsjy at Liturgy Guy blog.
Per quem hodie commercium nostrae reparationis effulsit, quia, dum nostra fragilitas a tuo Verbo suscipitur, humana mortalitas non solum in perpetuum transit honorem, sed nos quoque, mirando consortio, reddit aeternos.
Through whom flashed forth today the transaction of the healing of our nature, because, when our frailty is received by thy Word, not only does human mortality pass across to everlasting honor, but it also, by a wonderful fellowship, renders us eternal.
But what shall I say, brethren? Let us see plainly what He purchased (emerit). For there He bought (emit), where He paid the price (pretium dedit). Paid it for how much? If He paid it only for Africa, let us be Donatists, and not be called Donatists, but Christians; since Christ bought only Africa: although even here are other than Donatists. But He has not been silent of what He bought in this transaction (in commercio suo). He has made up the account (tabulas): thanks be to God, He has not tricked us. Need there is for that bride to hear, and then to understand to whom she has vowed her virginity.
There, in that psalm where it reads, “They pierced my hands and my feet, they counted all my bones;” wherein the Lord’s passion is most openly declared; the psalm which is read every year on the last week, in the hearing of the whole people, at the approach of Christ’s passion; and this psalm is read both among them and us; there, I say, note, brethren, what He has bought: let the bill of merchandise (tabulae commerciales) be read: hear ye what He bought: “All the ends of the earth shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship in His sight: for the kingdom is His, and He shall rule the nations.”
|Holy Mass • Extraordinary Form|
In the following article, David Clayton, artist and lecturer at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire, discusses his thoughts about the impact of the sacred liturgy on Catholic education. The Cardinal Newman Society sponsored Clayton's attendance at Sacra Liturgia 2013 in Rome, where he joined hundreds of other participants in the conference that aimed to study, promote and renew appreciation for the liturgy. The Newman Society hopes to help spur on this liturgical renewal in Catholic higher education.
ZENIT: Some also say that to be concerned with liturgical law is being unduly legalistic, that it’s a stifling of the spirit. How should one respond to that? Why should we be concerned about liturgical law?
Cardinal Burke: Liturgical law disciplines us so that we have the freedom to worship God, otherwise we’re captured – we’re the victims or slaves either of our own individual ideas, relative ideas of this or that, or of the community or whatever else. But the liturgical law safeguards the objectivity of sacred worship and opens up that space within us, that freedom to offer worship to God as He desires, so we can be sure we’re not worshipping ourselves or, at the same time, as Aquinas says, some kind of falsification of divine worship.
ZENIT: It offers a kind of template?
Cardinal Burke: Exactly, it’s what discipline does in every aspect of our lives. Unless we’re disciplined, then we’re not free.
The Mass of its nature requires that all those present participate in it, in the fashion proper to each.This participation must primarily be interior (i.e., union with Christ the Priest; offering with and through Him).b) But the participation of those present becomes fuller (plenior) if to internal attention is joined external participation, expressed, that is to say, by external actions such as the position of the body (genuflecting, standing, sitting), ceremonial gestures, or, in particular, the responses, prayers and singing. . .It is this harmonious form of participation that is referred to in pontifical documents when they speak of active participation (participatio actuosa), the principal example of which is found in the celebrating priest and his ministers who, with due interior devotion and exact observance of the rubrics and ceremonies, minister at the altar.c) Perfect participatio actuosa of the faithful, finally, is obtained when there is added sacramental participation (by communion).d) Deliberate participatio actuosa of the faithful is not possible without their adequate instruction.
Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious and active participation in the ceremonies which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy.Such participation by the Christian people as a "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people" (I Pet. 2:9; 2: 4-5) is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true spirit of Christ. . .
(It is) that form of devout involvement in the liturgical action which, in the present conditions of the Church, best promotes the exercise of the common priesthood of the baptized: that is, their power to offer the sacrifice of the Mass with Christ and to receive the sacraments. It is clear that, concretely, this requires that the faithful understand the liturgical ceremonial; that they take part in it by bodily movements, standing, kneeling or sitting as the occasion may demand; that they join vocally in the parts which are intended for them. It also requires that they listen to, and understand, the liturgy of the word. It requires, too, that there be moments of silence when the import of the whole ceremonial may be absorbed and deeply personalized. (Colman E. O'Neill, "The Theological Meaning of Actuosa Participatio in the Liturgy," in Sacred Music and Liturgy Reform after Vatican II. Consociatio Internationalis Musicae Sacrae, Rome, 1969. p. 105.)
1. Prepare as much as you can, especially for Sunday Mass. Read the readings before the Liturgy, so when you here them again, your heart can be open more fully to God’s Word.
2. Focus your attention on the unchanging parts of the Mass. The basics will always be there, no matter what else is added in or not. The OF and the EF have the same basic parts, especially the Eucharist, and that is where unity can be found between them.
3. Follow in a missal or missalette, if you can. I have found that even when I have heard a Eucharistic Prayer hundreds of times, I pay so much more attention to God’s actions when I read along.
4. If you can’t read along, exert yourself to listen, watch, and pray. The action at the altar is where God acts. You can join your heart with the sacrifice on the altar; the sacrifice is ours to take part in.
5. Memorize or have with you a devotional prayer for before receiving the Eucharist and another for after. This helps greatly with remembering that the liturgy is for our salvation. My favorite before and after where written by St. Thomas Aquinas.
6. If something is distracting for you, offer it up, and focus on the real action, which is God’s. This was the hardest thing for me when I discovered the richness of the Church’s liturgical tradition. But when I was able to get over my nit-pickiness, I learned to move beyond what I wished was different, and seek God in the liturgy.